Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnant and Nursing Moms

Nutrition during pregnancy is serious business. What you eat plays a vital role in determining the health of your baby.

  • Calories:Add 200 to 300 per day during the second and third trimester.
  • Protein:Get three good servings -- 74 grams -- a day from tofu, beans, chicken, fish, meat or eggs.
  • Calcium: The need for calcium is most crucial during the last three months. Drink a little more than one quart of milk a day.
  • Iron: Take a 30 milligram daily supplement during the second and third trimester.
  • Folic Acid: Take 400 micrograms a day at least one month before becoming pregnant -- from orange juice, spinach, legumes and a daily supplement.
  • Fluids: Drink at least six to eight glasses a day.
  • Follow the food pyramid guidelines, with these exceptions:
    • Increase protein servings to at least three, and
    • increase dairy servings to a minimum of four.


WARNING: Here are some important foods to avoid:

  • No swordfish, shark or fresh tuna and go light on canned tuna.
  • Avoid all fresh-water fish.
  • Pass on the caffeine.
  • Avoid alcohol.


Some Advice for Nursing Moms
If you plan on nursing, continue to follow these guidelines after the baby is born.

  • Pay special attention to calcium: you lose 200 to 300 milligrams of calcium a day in breast milk.
  • Increase your intake of complex carbohydrates.
  • Eat lots of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash it all down with lots of extra fluids. Toting a water bottle around during the day will remind you to drink.
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